Is happiness a way of life, shared with others? (by the World Wellbeing Panel)

For half a decade the World Wellbeing Panel (WWP) has promoted wellbeing as the ultimate purpose of all major decision makers, particularly government.

For the most recent survey, members of the World Wellbeing Panel were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with two statements related to:

  • the importance and the meaning of social relationship for well-being,
  • the possibility to choose to be happy.


These are their answers.

Enjoying life takes time and needs people (by Maurizio Pugno, MPRA working paper)

People gain enjoyment from exercising their agency and interacting with others in order to accomplish projects and change reality, as is evident from the successful evolution of homo sapiens. Hence, time can be enjoyable in both pursuing and achieving socially valued goals. Since modern economic progress offers products in growing abundance, thus increasingly exploiting individuals’ time and interaction, people are tempted to seek enjoyment in another way, i.e. in consumption itself, as homo economicus would suggest. On the basis of various evidence, the paper argues that people can choose between these two ways leading to well-being; that the homo economicus way is less effective or even perverse; and that economic progress weakens people’s skill to undertake the homo sapiens way. These arguments help explain why the economy of a country, such as the USA, can grow over decades whereas its citizens become less able to enjoy their lives.

Published in MPRA Paper No. 104378 (downloadable)